"The Copenhagen Smart Bike Wheel Gives Cycling a 21st Century Boost" Posting by T. Flusser link to story | permalink
By T. Flusser, News Report Staff Writer
February 3, 2010
Inserting intelligence in our everyday objects is helping to create a smart support infrastructure around ourselves for everyday life
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a smart bike wheel that makes bicycling more enjoyable and easier. It encourages people to ride longer distances, aiding in saving energy expenses, resources and the environment. The Copenhagen Wheel was introduced at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December of 2009.
The most notable feature of the Copenhagen Wheel is its technology that is similar to a Formula One race car's Kinetic Energy Recovery System. A bright red sensor placed on the hub of the wheel reacts to a biker's braking action and stores this energy for later use, giving the rider a boost when climbing hills or whenever needed.
An smart wheel equipped bicycle may also connect to the rider's iPhone via a Bluetooth transducer fitted on the handlebars. Distance, speed, direction, location, air quality data and weather conditions can all be beamed to the rider's iPhone.
According to Christine Outram, the Copenhagen Wheel Project Leader, "The Wheel also has a smart security system: if someone rides away with it, the Wheel goes into a mode where the brake regenerates the maximum amount of power and sends you a text message with its location."
M.I.T.'s SENSEable City Laboratory team sees the wheel as a plug-and play-device, one that any bike owner should be able to easily retrofit to the back wheel of their existing rim.
Packed inside the sleek, bright red hub are numerous electronic gadgets and novel functions.
The Copenhagen wheel will appear on market within a year thorugh internet vendors. The price will range between $500 and $1000 USD.
The first prototypes of the Copenhagen Wheel were developed with Ducati Energia on behalf of the Italian Ministry of the Environment.
"The Copenhagen Wheel is part of a more general trend: that of inserting intelligence in our everyday objects and of creating a smart support infrastructure around ourselves for everyday life," comments Assaf Biderman, Associate Director of the Senseable City Lab.